When you hire an employee, you obviously hope they stick around. But there are ways to up your chances that they will. Priscilla Claman, president of Boston-based career management and coaching firm Career Strategies, writes in Harvard Business Review about how to screen for "serial job hoppers."
Study their resume
The Great Recession affected almost every industry for nearly five years. When you look at a candidate's resume, do not discount them because they had four jobs in just as many years during this period.
"The years from 2007 to 2010 were full of massive layoffs in the financial sector that triggered more layoffs in every part of the economy--from construction workers, teachers, and police officers to lawyers and nurses. When you look at resumes of people whose short stints fall in those years, look at what they did to rebuild their careers, not the gaps or the multiple jobs," she writes.
Read between the lines into their employment history during the interview. Claman suggests you should ask these two questions for each job the candidate held: why did you leave and why did you take the next job?
"End by asking the candidate about her current position and what she is looking for in her next job," she writes.
Look for patterns
The most telling aspect of a person's employment history will be their attitude towards former bosses and companies. Claman says you should listen for patterns.
"Is she consistently negative about the places she worked? Or her bosses? Or colleagues? Does she consistently change jobs looking for more pay? Or more responsibility? Once you know a candidate's reasons for changing jobs, the question you need to ask yourself is, 'What does that behavior pattern mean for me and my team,'" Claman writes.
A pattern of negativity is a red flag, she says. But if the candidate is positive about their past employment and says they were looking for more pay and greater responsibility, and you can offer upward mobility and promotions and raises, this could be a great employee. But don't hire the person if you can't promote and offer raises when they are deserved.
Ask for a reasonable commitment
If you still cannot figure out if they are willing to commit to a position, ask the candidate to agree to a three-year contract. If they say yes, you might have found a loyal employee who wants to work and grow within your company. If they won't commit, your question has been answered.